Swedish massage is one of the best foot massage methods for sore muscles. But some may not be the biggest fan for various reasons. So, what exactly is a Swedish massage? How does it work? And what are the advantages and side effects? Let's give you a full overview of one of the most popular massage methods.


  • Swedish massage uses long-gliding movements and kneading techniques
  • Swedish massage can help increase flexibility and improve posture.
  • You may experience more soreness and bruising the next day after getting a Swedish massage
  • You should not get a Swedish massage if you have unhealed injuries, such as broken bones, sprains, or burns.

What is Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage can be applied to your full body. It’s a popular general-purpose massage using long, kneading strokes with rhythmic tapping and joint movements. A whole body massage lasts 50 to 60 minutes, treating multiple areas, including shoulders, neck, arms, legs, feet, and, sometimes, the head.

There are four primary techniques used in Swedish massage:

  • Kneading: Applies pressure by lifting the muscles in upward circles. Effective in breaking down collagen fibers.
  • Petrissage: A combination of kneading and squeezing. Often used to relieve muscle tension.
  • Effleurage: A light friction technique often used at the beginning of a session to warm your body up. Increases lymphatic circulation.
  • Tapotement: Rhythmic tapping or patting of soft tissues.
  • Swedish Massage vs. Deep Tissue Massage

    Swedish massage focuses on tension relief. However, it might be less effective when it comes to pain relief. Meanwhile, deep tissue massage tackles deeper muscle layers, thus being more beneficial for injury recovery and pain relief.

    The two types of massages also differ in techniques and applications. Swedish massage mainly relies on long, gliding strokes and kneading to stimulate circulation and comb through muscle knots. It is more so a general massage applicable to the whole body. Deep tissue massage uses more petrissage techniques to target specific areas.

    Shop now: Swedish Massage Petrissage Foot Massager

    Swedish Massage Benefits

    Swedish massage has many benefits, and some of these might surprise you!

    1. Promote Healthy Circulation and Improve Blood Flow

    Swedish massage techniques are highly promotive for blood circulation. They widen membrane pores and open up blood vessels, allowing blood to flow through more efficiently so your organs can receive fresh, healthy, oxygen-rich blood.

    2. Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion

    Swedish massage is highly effective against tight muscles and stiff joints. The techniques can stretch and elongate the muscles, decrease swelling, and lubricate joints.

    3. Improve Posture

    If you notice yourself hunching over your laptop, maybe it’s time to hit up your massage therapist. Swedish massage is a great method to improve your posture naturally and comfortably, as it removes burdens that have built up on your spine, joints, and bones.

    4. Headache Relief

    If your massage therapist has the expertise to perform a head massage, you will notice those annoying, lingering headaches going away, at least temporarily. That is, again, because Swedish massage promotes healthy circulation, and increased oxygen-rich blood flow will reduce headaches.

    Similarly, if your headaches are caused by tight neck and shoulder muscles, Swedish massage can help with that as well.

    5. Mood Improvement and Better Sleep

    Research has proved that Swedish massage promotes endorphin release, improving mood and relaxation. While not clinically proven, massage recipients also expressed lower stress and reduced depression symptoms. As a result, you may also notice your sleep quality improving.

    6. Boost Immunity

    The long and short gliding strokes Swedish massage uses can improve circulation in your lymph nodes, promoting drainage and cleansing to accelerate the processing of metabolic wastes. The sooner you get unwanted residues out of your body, the less likely you’ll get sick.

    Read more: 6 Leg and Foot Massage Benefits You Should Know

    Swedish Massage Side Effects

    Swedish massage is gentler and safer than other types of massage. However, some might still experience certain side effects, including muscle soreness and light bruising. If you notice any intolerable pain during a session, alert your massage therapist and ask them to use less force. If the pain continues, stop immediately.

    When should I avoid Swedish Massage?

    If you have an unhealed injury, such as a broken bone, sprained ankle, or open wound. Also, if you are pressure-sensitive or prone to blood diseases, you should avoid Swedish massage.

    Read more: How Often Should I Get a Massage?

    After Massage Care Routine

    There are a few things you should and should not do after getting a Swedish massage to maximize the benefits.

    For the next few days, eat light and healthy, avoid fast food, and skip heavy meals immediately after a massage session. You should also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

    Also, avoid strenuous activities, including your usual gym routine so your muscles can fully readjust and absorb the massage’s results. Feel free to make yourself a bath or engage in other self-care routines that will help you relax. If you can, go to bed a little early as your body recovers and replenishes faster during sleep.

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